That was fifteen years ago when things were simpler.
But even three years ago businesses could basically phone in a mobile experience. User expectations for a business's mobile experience were very low – no one expected to be engaged on a mobile device.
The basic questions were, "do you think this company's site will load on my phone?" and "am I going to be able to do anything on this screen?"
Attitudes and appetites have evolved rapidly, so things have changed significantly.
Businesses went from no mobile presence, to a stripped-down m.site, to early attempts at mobile apps, to any online presence now requiring a business to create and maintain a complex, distributed application that is constantly available, very fast and provides a seamless experience across locations, devices and networks.
Today, 64% of users expect a site to load in under 4 seconds, 85% of users expect a mobile site to outperform its desktop counterpart, 42% of users will go to a competitor if they have a poor experience on your site, and 29% of those users will never return to your site. [Source: KISSmetrics]
Mobile moments have stemmed from shrinking attention spans and the ubiquity of internet connectivity. Gone of the days of Trivial Pursuit – today you don't have to remember anything, just ask Cortana, Google or Siri.
We live in "the fast web" era
Modern internet behavior stems from a glut of ever-evolving online information. Modern businesses compete for mindshare, brought about by the realization that any business's most valuable commodity is data. But not just data; value is derived from extracting insights from that data and establishing a relevant, and using it to establish and maintain a marketable position with it.
Mobility and social sharing have fueled an intensely competitive, global race to relevance. Success demands, no, requires the modern marketer to know where you are, who you are, who your friends are, and what you're doing, and to target you with localized, personalized data.
And we love it! The modern online consumer can't wait to be notified on late-breaking information.
But our obsession with all things real-time has led to frantic and fickle behaviors.
Before (if, ever) the Slow Web movement catches on, businesses are faced with a stark truth: the end user is king, and the king doesn't suffer slow.
Today's users consume data in moments, so yours had better be clear, quick, cool and most importantly, contextually relevant.
Moore's law hasn't overcome mobile technical debt
Context is important because as advanced as modern internet and mobile technology has become, mobile is still in its infancy.
Sure, we have the iPhone 6, wearables like glasses and watches, and our cars and airplanes have become WiFi hotspots to ensure we never go offline. But as any well-heeled road warrior, modern family vacationer, or on-the-go smartphone user can tell you, mobile experiences are far from predictable.
Users struggle with sparse or saturated cell towers and the impact of switching between them, which, not coincidentally is the basis for the major mobile carriers' marketing campaigns.
But context isn't just about connectivity. As impressive as modern mobile technology seems, devices are still on average 10x less powerful than the average desktop alternative. So despite severely limited on-screen real-estate, portrait and landscape orientations, thousands of combinations of operating environments, gesture-based interactions, and connectivity challenges on an underpowered device, businesses are expected to maintain a consistent end user experience.
This is why context is so important. You have to account for your end user's location, device and network connectivity. Maintaining a consistent end user experience is less about sameness – in fact despite the earlier statistic stating how users buy on mobile devices, this is due more to necessity than to choice. Consistency is more about maintaining a familiar, relevant experience during the end user's chosen moment of interaction.
And yes, that moment had better perform – it had better be fast.
To create a mobile solution in order to capitalize on users' mobile moments, modern marketers are turning to responsive web design (RWD).
Tomorrow I'll be discussing the importance of RWD, how you can get started, and important considerations to ensure that you see a return on your investment in a free webinar.
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About Ari Weil
Ari Weil is the VP of Products at Yottaa, a Boston-based company specializing in optimizing the mobile experience for end users.
Hands-on, results-focused, resourceful, and creative – Ari is a product leader with a track record for successful solutions from initial concept throughout the product lifecycle.